Friday night’s Mega Millions jackpot is expected to hit a staggering $1 billion, continuing a trend of giant jackpots.
It is the second-largest lottery prize in US history and joins 5 other top 10 drawings in the last 3 years.
The previous record of $656 million was set on March 30, 2012. The incredible jackpot comes after no ticket matched all six numbers drawn Tuesday, October 16 – the white balls 3, 45, 49, 61 and 69, plus the gold Mega Ball 9.
The jackpot has soared since it was last won on July 24, when a California office pool of 11 co-workers shared $543 million, the largest prize ever won on a single ticket in the game. Three other Mega Millions jackpots have been won this year – $451 million on January 5 (FL), $533 million on March 30 (NJ), and $142 million on May 4 (OH).
Lottery officials changed the odds in recent years to lessen the chance of winning a jackpot, which in turn increased the opportunity for top prizes to reach stratospheric levels.
States have generally reported increased Mega Millions and Powerball sales since the change.
A total of 4,527,495 winning tickets at all prize levels came out of Tuesday’s drawing.
There were plenty of winners on October 16 as players from around the country jumped into the game at record levels.
Nine tickets matched the five white balls to win the game’s second prize. One of them, sold in Texas, included the optional Megaplier (available in most states for an extra $1 purchase) and is worth $5 million! The other eight are million-dollar tickets – two were sold in Pennsylvania and one each in CA, FL, GA, KY, NJ and NY.
One hundred tickets matched four white balls plus the Mega Ball for the $10,000 third prize; 12 of those are actually worth $50,000 each because they included the optional Megaplier.